Religion is always a contentious topic ’round these parts, but I found the discussion of ultra-orthodox Judaism in this thread very interesting, so I thought I might do another free-wheeling religious thread so we can all scream at each other about how we’re all ignorant bigots (though mostly that only happens when it’s Catholicism we’re discussing).
By chance, I’ve had a few long discussions with Hindu friends of mine recently, one a practicing believer, the other a cultural Hindu who has read a lot about religions but doesn’t believe or practice (beyond the annual excruciating Diwali festivities). One explained to me why people in India could build palaces next to ghettos and not have the plebes come and kill them and steal all their shit, because violent acts give you bad karma. The other told me that he thought the big difference between Hinduism/Budhism and western religions is that in western religion, you can repent and not have to pay for your crimes, whereas in eastern religions, you’d get my name’s Krish, and you ain’t talking your way out of this shit. And then I read in a Times article about Tibetan dumplings (it was annoying, so I’m not going to link) that Tibetans liked red meat because the karmic load of killing a single large yak was not as bad as killing a bunch of smaller, say, chickens.
Is that accurate, that the idea that you’ll have to pay via reincarnation for everything you do wrong — no excuses — is something that makes eastern religions fundamentally different from western ones?